RARE US NAVY 1941
HAMILTON MODEL 22
CASE DIMENSIONS: 6″ square
WEIGHT 4 lbs 11 oz
Presented is a WW II HAMILTON Model 22 Chronometer watch that
actually served in a Navy ship during WW II as of 1941. That is further substantiated by the stamping on the bottom of
the brass cap on the tub’s underside. It reads: MTD Watch Bureau of Ships U.S. Navy NO 3444 – 1941
NO stands for the Naval Observatory. 3444 is the Navy’s
number which appears on the side of the case and on the bottom of the cap so these numbers match. The numerous clocks that were declared surplus at the end
of WW II were quickly purchased by collectors and jewelry stores so none with a Navy mark remained. Sensing a continuing
demand, Hamilton reissued this model clock without the military stamping on the bottom of the case, but used movements
that they had left over from the War. Jewelry stores had these clocks in their windows so passers by could check the time.
It is mostly these versions that you now find in the market with clock collectors trading the Navy versions among themselves
as expected at higher prices.
This is a Hamilton 22 that served on a ship from 1941 through Vietnam
CONDITION: The 12 hour dial is without a blemish
and looks as new. The inner bezel has this clocks US Navy next scheduled inspection date recorded as November, 1972. It then
reads HAMILTON LANCASTER, PA., U.S.A. 48 hour Up/Down Indicator at top, Seconds Bit Under. The number 3444 is engraved on
the bezel and on the body of the housing under Hamilton, and in the outside of the back cover. Inside, the movement is
engraved the Model 22 specifications and U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships 1942. To the right of the balance wheel is 2F1544X which
is the movements serial number. The clock is keeping excellent time when compared to a quartz wrist watch set to Atomic time.
The clock is housed in its
traditional three section varnished wood case with full gimbal mounts. It is in exceptional condition with only
a few minor scratches. The most prominent is on the right front side of the case down from the edge as in the last picture
below. Most of the original lacquer is worn with the brass having a nice patina of age.
This Model 22 is
a fine running clock which should appeal to those seeking a historic chronometer of the WW II and Vietnam Era
The Hamilton Model 22 is a legendary watch, hurriedly designed when the USA was entering WWII, along with the far more complicated
Model 21 marine chronometer; both are considered amongst the finest of their type. The 22 was even produced in the boxed-and-gimbaled
format, as it was proven to be reliable enough to serve as a ship’s primary timekeeper! The case is 70mm across,
of plated and matted brass, and features a wonderful guarded crown and button to prevent inadvertent setting. Although the
mainspring’s power reserve is some 60 hours, and the dial indicates up to 48, it was intended that the watch would be wound
each day at the same time for nearly perfect isochronisms. The enormous movement is fully adjusted and immaculately finished
and striped. The elegant regulator uses a spring-loaded finger which traces the perimeter of a snail-cam.
Fine looking dial with Overhaul Due Date & count
HAMILTON CHRONOMETER HISTORY:
Model 21 Marine Chronometers and Model 22 Deck Watches. At the outbreak
of W.W. II, the United States Navy required a vast quantity high quality chronometers. At that time, the Navy had been
using Ulysses Nardin timepieces as standard equipment with few if any being available in this country. A request for
bids was made by the War Office, and the Hamilton Watch Company was the only firm able to meet the requirements by designing
and producing an innovative marine chronometer in a period of about 18 months. Hamilton was able to produce the
unit in sufficient numbers to meet U.S. wartime demand, and made 11,239 of these chronometers during the War.
Packaged in a fine looking Mahogany case.
The model 21 and
22 are technically one of the great achievements in horology. The balance and hairspring assembly were a radical
departure from traditional chronometer design and resulted in superior time keeping rates. In addition, Hamilton
also produced a 21 jewel lever escapement chronometer deck watch. A more detailed description of both the model 21 and 22
timepieces can be found in Marvin E. Whitney’s book: “Military Timepieces” which is recommended reading for serious collectors.
This fine example is a worthy addition
to any timepiece collection.